Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Love of a Fighter.

First. Watch this.

Now. Listen to this while you read.

So. Many. Emotions. Being a girl sucks.

Actually I love it. Boys are too smelly. Plus we don’t sweat, we sparkle. And that’s pretty cool.

If you have kept up with anything I’ve been doing lately (which… no one does), you might know that my cousins have been missing for the past week. And by missing, I mean no one knew where they were or where to even start looking.
Let’s take a step back. I’ve been trying to contact them for 5 years now. But since I moved back to Knoxville, I feel like I’ve kicked it up a notch. And because they only live 45 minutes away, it’s so easy. Knock on their door, leave letters and notes where they could find them, call, email, sit on the porch until the neighbors get creeped out. I’ve felt like I have been doing everything in my power to fight for them.

We used to be best, best friends.
When we were little we would run around Mama’s house and climb trees, build leaf forts, and write, practice and preform plays that were sure to make us celebrities one day. I also remember the very day I realized I wasn’t 8 anymore and couldn’t climb my favorite tree. I’ll admit that wasn’t my best day.

When we were older we would write songs and sing at the top of our lungs in Mama’s sunroom. Never mind that the whole family was trying to have Thanksgiving dinner in the next room. We were going to be famous for goodness sake.

We were so fun.

Then we grew up… And apart for that matter.

They were, and always will be my family, but for some reason we didn’t keep in touch for the few years between then and now. And I regret that. Maybe I could have changed everything. Maybe I could have prevented all of this. Maybe things would be different.

When I moved back I started visiting at a least once if not twice a month. I’ve done that for almost a year now, and wish I had started sooner. But not one time did anyone answer that front door. But something made me keep going back.

Something good this way comes.

Tonight I spoke with April and Amanda for the first time in five years. I use the word ‘spoke’ loosely because it was mostly broken words between sobs and snorts. I have been praying through what feels like every waking moment for the Lord to bring them home. And not home, in the physical sense. Home to me, to my family, to their dad, to Love. To Comfort. To Peace. To the satisfying, unequivocal, unfaltering, incomparable fighting power of our Holy. Lord. God. Almighty. (Oh law, I’m gettin’ worked up…)

He FIGHTS for us! Did you hear me??

FIGHTS!!! It’s a hold the phone, pause the movie, stop everything, who’s touching my robe in this crowd of 2,000 people kind of Love!! It’s ridiculous! We so don’t deserve it. And just as the Lord gave me the push to keep fighting for my cousins, He pushes so much harder to be the Savior of your soul and mine.

I felt so discouraged because I didn’t do enough. Because I wasn’t mounting up to enough. Because I couldn’t say enough to make them notice or want to see me. But if that ain’t the devil I don’t know what is!

I didn’t know how the Lord was going to use all of this in my heart until today. And although I am, in fact, still wallowing in a glass case of emotion, I know this to be true: The Lord is my FIGHTER. Yeeeeahhh buddy! There is SO much joy in that it’s ridic. (Bear with me, it’s getting late.)

I think I am so big and independent, but truth is, I need someone to fight for me. We all do. I thought all that fighting I was doing was for nothing. But it totally wasn’t. And I see that now.
I can’t wait to start this new life with my beautiful family that I’ve missed so much. They are the Lord’s. They are protected. They are loved. They are safe.

All these things are true for you too. Every waking moment, every sleeping breath, He’s fighting for your life. Gosh, that’s a big bite to chew. He brings us home, to where we belong.

His Love never fails. Go to sleep wrapped up in that comfort, friends.

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My Grown Up Christmas List.

Yeah, yeah. I know it’s not Christmas. But I do love Christmas. And Amy Grant. I remember being little and sobbing to that song in the back of our mini van on the way to school every morning. But I also love the Summer. And being tan. Actually I like Spring and Fall the best. Oh and fireworks. I like those too.

(How did I get to fireworks?) 

Whatever.

I am pretty sure the year I lived in Arizona I forgot it was my own birthday until I got a package from my family. But apparently that’s not allowed anymore. Because I live with Katelyn, and birthdays are a big deal around here. So I’ve decided to start early. There’s nothing cool about turning 22, so I figure it needs to be celebrated for like… 2 weeks. Yeah?

I also decided to commence the celebrating with a wish list. Now. Obviously these are just wishes, but that’s still fun, right?

In no particular order:

IKEA.

I know High Point, NC is supposed to be the furniture capital of the world or something… but until I see it I’m sticking with IKEA. The Disney World Mecca Kings Island Harrod’s of furniture stores. I could cry thinking about the fact that the closest one to me is about 2-3 hours away. I could also grieve the fact that I didn’t take advantage of the one I had in Arizona. My secret dream is to get locked inside of one overnight. But I think I am going to take a special birthday trip to the nearest location and gawk at the beautiful interior design and small little trinkets I don’t need but desperately want. Well… I kind of need a couch.

iPro Lenses.

This thing is amazing. Sadly, my iPhone takes better pictures then my “real” camera… Boo. But also. AWESOME. (Technology these days…)

Anything kitchen.

I mean, since I’m obsessed with cooking now… Every girl can always use more kitchen things right? And paintings.

Honestly, I don’t have that great of a wish list. Maybe all I want for my birthday is to figure out what the HECK I am supposed to be doing with my life. But for now I’ll spend it with my best friends, family, and my lil boy Bentley.

Seriously, look at that face.

His picture is bigger because I love him the most. (Or because I didn’t know how to make it smaller.) And that’s Kate’s sweet little LanaRae behind him… I don’t know how they are so precious together.

All I really need is the amazing community I’ve been blessed with, my incredible family, the open road (I’m not kidding), and my sweet Daddy and Prince of Peace.

But who doesn’t like a neat Rolex, eh?

Happy almostnotthereyetbutreallyclosekinda birthday week to me!

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Full House.

I LOVE having a full house.

Growing up, our door was always open. I am thankful for that.

Katelyn and I had a little girl sleepover last night in my room. Okay I just lied. We actually had a grandma sleepover because I honestly passed out about 10 minutes into whatever movie we were watching. Anyways, this morning Kate and I swapped stories, walked to Kroger because we were out of coffee, and started breakfast- all before 8:30 am. 8:30 people. By 9:30 I had a full kitchen table and one on the way. And I was dishin’ out crepes like there was no tomorrow. (Yes, I convinced everyone they were craving crepes just so I had an excuse to have one. Cha-ching!) I love that fact that people feel comfortable enough in my home to walk in the front door and open the fridge, or help themselves to a cup of coffee and a seat at the dining room table. LOVE IT. I think one of the reasons I’ve been cooking so much lately is because to me it’s a way to bring the people I love together.

One of my love languages is quality time. So to have a full, loud, laughing house is so fun to me. It fills my soul and in a sense- refuels me.

I think God wants this for us. I imagine my mansion in Heaven won’t have any locks, so anyone can come and go as they please. It pleases the Lord to see us in good, healthy community. Granted, it is so hard to find sometimes, but so worth the wait.

Last Wednesday was Katelyn’s 21st birthday!

We’ve decided that she looks older. Don’t you think? I am so stinkin’ thankful for this woman. I couldn’t even begin to count the amount of character traits I’ve learned from her. Patience. Joy. Kindness. Acceptance. Joy. Love. Confidence. Joy. Forgiveness. Did I say joy? Such a blessing that I’ve gotten to build a friendship with this amazing woman of God. I am so proud to call her my friend. I challenge you to find anyone in this world more joyful than Katelyn Cooper. Really. We are doing a bible study on joy together right now, but honestly I’m the one who needs it most. I thank God daily for this lifelong friendship!

What would it look like if not only our physical homes, but the metaphorical home in our heart was always filled with good community? What would it look like to invite someone in that you wouldn’t normally consider? Someone that isn’t like you?

It is such a beautiful day here.
I’m off to enjoy it!

-tay

Jetlag.

Oh, what a wonderful thing.

I’d like to be able to tell you that I really am not that tired and that I think I’m just about back on track… but I know as soon as I say something like that I will fall on the floor and pass out. But really- the jet lag was worse going than coming home.

Incredible. Fantastic. Blessed. A beautiful life.
There are so many ways to describe the trip we were just able to take. It was amazing. I am so proud of my family. Even though I could sob through a whole box (and then some) of tissues thinking about how I am missing my little bros and sis grow up, I am so amazed each time we get together at how much they’ve grown.

On Easter Sunday we had the privilege of visiting Hillsong Paris for church. Holy moly it was amazing. Ministry like that speaks to my heart so strongly. They did the service in both English and French, but even if they hadn’t, the presence of the Lord was so settled like the heaviest fog that I think we still would have understood. It was so beautiful to stand among people who didn’t even speak your language but could connect with you on a deeper level than some of the people I know who do speak my language. Of course it was Hillsong, so there was worship, and it was incredible, then some drama, and intertwined teaching and communion. But after all of that, right before we were dismissed, we reached across the aisles and held hands with the people beside us for the last prayer. I was on the end of the aisle, so the girl standing behind/beside me was about my age and, from what I could tell, didn’t speak one word of English, but it was so super cool to stand beside her and hold her hand and literally feel the Holy Spirit move through us. I almost gave her a hug after we said Amen, but I don’t know if they have personal space bubbles in France.

Unfortunately, plenty of crepes, metros, and a Mona Lisa later, it was time to go home. Boo. The last few days in Paris were so beautiful! And by beautiful I am referring to the company and culture and events that took place, because weather-wise, it was quite crappy. But we still had fun with inside-out umbrellas and 5 layers on!

This whole trip was a ridiculous privilege and blessing. If we never get to do anything like this again, we’ll all be happy that we at least did it once. It is something we’ll remember forever. I can’t wait to get pictures printed and I know Momma’s looking forward to a coffee table picture book. Woot!

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Now, for more coffee to cure my jet lag.

Le Clé.

HOLY culture shock. I don’t remember having this much trouble last time I came here. Maybe I had practiced more French then? It was probably the fact that our tour guide was fluent so we, the students, didn’t really have to talk to anyone. Goodness, it’s so much different than it was. It’s definitely a lot more of an adventure. I mean, who knows what I am saying to them?? All I hear is, “Flu de la splew, pa tu ploof bla blu….” (Just think Joey on Friends- that’s the extent of my understanding.) And they probably think I’m just an American idiot.

Either way-

We are in PARIS!! WooHoo! And even though we spent our day dragging our suitcases on and off the Metro, wandering through the streets like lost puppies, and piecing French words together to try and order dinner… we are finally in our beautiful, cozy flat ready to pass out and get good sleep for another adventure tomorrow!

But we did get to see a couple of pretty cool things today…

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Bonne nuit, friends.

Safro Day 2/3.

Well… we just got back inside from a complete building evacuation. Which is ironic because Anna Grace had just finished our devotion about God being in control. Time to put that faith to good use, eh? But no fear, it was just a prank. A dumb prank that made Ma get out of the bathtub, Anna Grace and I miss the end of Extreme Home Makeover, and Grayson only get to halfway finish shaving.

#firstworldproblems

But for real, it was pretty fun and exciting. There were fire trucks and everything…

…Okay maybe just one.

Yesterday we had afternoon tea at the Tate Modern. The last time I was here in London, our group went to the Tate… Normal? and everyone was ranting and raving about how much better the Modern was. I will say, it was really cool and creative, but good gracious, the things they call art these days. And I am even a lover and appreciator of art. But come on… a pile of poop? I think that’s pushing it.
We left from there and found a little store called Full of Joy, we liked that.
That night we saw Les Miserables. I think the number of members in our family who cried like a baby and those who didn’t was about 50/50.  I’m not gonna lie to you, I voted to go see Thriller. But it was outvoted by the show I thought was going to be so boring. But it wasn’t. It was amazing. And encouraging. And hopeful. And also sad. You could say we were all in a glass case of emotion. And Daniel Jones, if by some weird coincidence you are reading this, Ma said this definitely reminded her of you and she was sure you would love it. But whether you’re Daniel, or anyone else, we highly recommend seeing this show as soon as possible.

Oh also, on our walk to the Tube after grabbing some pizza, we witnessed a bar fight… outside the bar. Schaaweet! Kinda freaked me out a little.

This morning we slept in then made our way to Harrods- the shopping Mecca of the universe.

I am telling you, sensory overload. It’s ridiculous. I would recommend a 24 unscheduled hours, a shopping list, loads of cash, and maybe two Advil. Maybe. But it’s so much fun to walk around and just look at everything. It makes you wish you had the time to see it all. And to taste all the food. One of the floors in particular is dedicated to all of their different foods. So. Many. Amazing. Smells. Gosh. I wanted to eat everything all at once. I didn’t even care about the art of mixing flavors and cleansing your palate. I think we were all feeling that way, so we decided to look for a sit down restaurant outside of Harrods where we could sort-of pull ourselves together. We ended up at a little Italian hole in the wall called Signor Sassi, which happened to be what I think was the best food we could of found in London. It was amazing, and the service was incredible. They were so kind to us. And one of the men there had just moved back to London from Miami, FL. Whadaya know.

When we thought we had refueled enough on pasta and cappuccino, we crossed back over the street to head back into Harrods, round two. We split up to tackle this fashion giant and the boys stayed downstairs while we (the girls) went to the 4th floor to enjoy… the pet paradise? Okay, I have to admit… it was my idea. I just miss Bentley so  much. But it was incredible the things they think of for pets. I mean seriously, I almost accidentally ate dog popcorn because it looked so human. We made our way through the gift shop and back out to the streets in search of Buckingham palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben. All also incredibly beautiful.

We were so excited to get back to the room and get some good rest for another travel day tomorrow, but little did we know, some little kid in the West Wing had other plans for all of us.

Now, grab some popcorn and take a look at how fun we are.

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Goodnight world.

Weird. In the best way.

Safro. For those of you unaware of the meaning of a safro, it is an Afro- with sass.

Hense:

Get it?

I can’t even remember what my little brother Will was talking about when he came up with it, but it stuck. And now we all have Safros. English and Parisian safros that is.

Because 9 hours, too many coffees, and 6 safros later- we are HERE!!!!!

So sorry I didn’t get to update sooner! We’ve been going, going, going non-stop!

Let’s just say… we hadn’t slept since America until last night. I am not just speaking for myself when I say I passed out at 8:30 last night and woke up at 10am this morning. So. Much. Walking.

We saw so much yesterday. Of course we arrived during rush hour so we stood quietly in a little corner by the tube waiting until there was enough room for our caravan to travel through as one. They tell you not to take the tube between 8:30 and 10am. Now we know why. Eventually we made it to The Tower of London, which holds the crown jewels, the armor of every king you could think of, and too many torture chambers. Ewh. The exit of the Tower of London spit us out right at the London Bridge, so we stood there a while taking goofy pictures. At this point we were all sleep deprived and delirious, so we decided it would be a good idea to look for food. We ended up at a little pub called Sussex, or Taylor Walkers… we can’t decide which one it actually was. Walked down Oxford street and looked in the windows of all the shops we were too tired to go in. “We’ll come back tomorrow,” I’m sure we all thought. Made our way to Top Shop, and AG got some sunglasses, though everything was a little bit too ridiculous- like more expensive than Urban, Kate. But so dang super cute. Walked through Trafalgar Square, which we actually are coming back to, and walked about 2.3 miles back to our hotel. Phew!

As Anna Grace says, “Long day=great sleep.” And that’s just what we did.

Now enjoy these.

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See? Weird. In the best way.

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